I was watching an interview clip of a popular female singer the other day. To be honest, I can't remember what question she was asked. But her answer was an immediate, "I will do what my heart tells me to do." I've observed this singer's life and noticed one thing.
She's very successful in her career as a singer and as a business woman. But she's had many failed relationships including three broken marriages. In the area of relationships, I don't think her heart has been the best guide because the results speak for themselves. Think about many of the songs we listen to from classical to rap. Look out for how many times we're encouraged to do what our hearts tell us or to do what we feel is right. The question is, "When we are told to follow our heart, what does it mean?" Does it mean that we should follow our emotions and feelings, or follow the direction of our thoughts and imaginations? What makes the heart a good guide? If it means that you should follow how you feel about something when they say follow your heart, we need to examine if our feelings are good guides.
There are different kinds of feelings. Anger, sadness, fear, excitement, indignation, and happiness are all feelings. I've found out from experience that when I've acted based on how I felt, I tended to make mistakes and take decisions that didn't have good end results.
The time I sent an instant email response to my over-critical manager's email didn't turn out too well. The time I almost started dating a good-looking, "nice" guy because I just wanted to be in a relationship could have had disastrous results if I had followed my feelings through. When I look back at all the times I've acted solely on my feelings, more times than not, the actions I took didn't have good or lasting results. Think back on all the times you've acted on how you felt.
What was the outcome for you or for others? Did most of those feeling-based decisions produce the right results? If follow your heart means follow your feelings, then my heart hasn't been a very good guide for me personally. OK, what if follow your heart means follow your thoughts and imaginations? The question is, "What are your thoughts or imaginations?" It depends on who you are. We know that people are pulled in the direction of their thoughts. What you think about all the time is what you will do. The question is, "What do you think about?" Are the thoughts you think and the things you imagine things that you should follow through? Not always. What kind of thoughts do you think a serial killer thinks? Do you think he should follow them through? So we need to be careful of responding to this particular advice.
When we're told to follow our hearts, what are they telling us to do? Feelings and emotions, or thoughts and imaginations? I think they're not really sure themselves. They probably say it because it sounds "deep". There is another word for heart that I would like to use. And I think this is what people mean when they say it. It's the word SOUL. The soul can be described as that part of a human being that is the seat of his emotions, will, and intellect.
Is there anything you can do to make your soul a good guide? Yes. You need to feed it with the right things. Computer-speak says GIGO. Garbage In Garbage Out.
The one who is constantly feeding himself with inspirational thoughts, entrepreneurship information, self-improvement books and resources, is training his soul in a certain direction. In those areas, his heart is being developed as a more reliable guide. But for the man who constantly feeds himself with gossip magazines or doesn't do things to develop or cultivate his mind and emotions will find that his soul hasn't been trained as a good guide for several issues and situations that pertain to life. In his case, his heart may not be the best guide for his life's decisions.
Next time someone asks you to follow your heart, make sure you ask them what they mean exactly.
Valentina Ibeachum has been counselling pre-wed and married couples for several years. She helps them prevent and resolve relationship problems by providing effective guidelines for building strong relationships. For FREE advice, visit RelationshipWrks.